Constance Schwartz, a 1990 graduate of SUNY Oswego with a successful career in marketing and talent management, will serve as mistress of ceremonies for Commencement Eve activities at the college Friday, May 16, including the dinner and traditional Torchlight Ceremony.
Since the 1930s, Oswego alumni have ceremoniously passed the torch of learning to graduating seniors with the charge to “dedicate its bright burning to our memories of the light transferred from our school, through us, to others.”
The Oswego Alumni Association will sponsor this year’s Torchlight Ceremony at 9 p.m. Friday, May 16, under a tent on the north lawn of the Campus Center.
Schwartz is now partner and co-founder of SMAC Entertainment. After earning her bachelor’s degree in marketing at Oswego, she launched her career at the National Football League, where she served as director of programming.
During her 10 years with the NFL, she also directed the creative and production efforts of NFL Films, securing musical talent for televised events and creating relationships with the music, film and entertainment community.
She went on to Arista Records as vice president of strategic marketing, creating opportunities to market and develop the label’s artists through strategic partnerships with the corporate sector, sports, television and film.
In 2001, she joined The Firm and led the day-to-day managerial team that oversaw Snoop Dogg’s career. She orchestrated high-profile endorsement deals for such celebrities as Kelly Clarkson and Enrique Iglesias.
Since 2011, Schwartz has worked with long-time friend and colleague Mark Sudack and Michael Strahan — well known as a Super Bowl champion, “Live with Kelly and Michael” host and “NFL on Fox” analyst — running SMAC Entertainment. Together, they are building a multi-dimensional talent management and entertainment company and oversee the careers of Deion Sanders, Tony Gonzalez and Strahan.
On Commencement Eve at SUNY Oswego, the Senior Sing, featuring musical selections from senior members of State Singers and the Oswego State Jazz Ensemble, will begin at 8:30 p.m. The candlelit Torchlight Ceremony will begin at 9 p.m. and Schwartz will read the names of faculty, staff and alumni seated in the inner circle.
Any SUNY Oswego alumni, faculty, staff and emeriti faculty members who are interested in participating in the Torchlight Ceremony are asked to RSVP to Shaunna Arnold-Plank at email@example.com in the college’s Office of Alumni and Parent Relations by Friday, May 9.
It shouldn’t be long before Fred Raynor Ford in Granby gets the go-ahead to build a new dealership.
Granby Supervisor Ed Williamson said the Raynor project has only one or two meetings left before the town planning board before it can move forward. He expects the project will be approved.
Raynor proposes building a new 21,000 square foot building on a 5-acre parcel on Route 3, not far from where the current Raynor business is located.
The site is at the corner of Route 3 and Airport Road, a bit closer to the Granby-Fulton line than the present dealership. Williamson said the new building would be about double the size of the present Raynor dealership.
Raynor has said in his proposal that he would employ from six to eight more people at the new site.
Williamson said Ford Motor Co. is upgrading many of its sales facilities across the country and Raynor is included in this endeavor. He believes the move not only will help Raynor, but should be a lift for Granby as well.
“I’m working with the state Department of State, division of local government, to apply for a shared services grant,” Williamson said.
What he wants to do is get money to run the sewer line from where it ends at Airport Road down to WalMart to the treatment station at the corner of Hannibal Street and Route 3.
Then the city of Fulton can use part of the money to upgrade the pump station on Hannibal Street to help take care of the additional sewage moving through the extended sewer line.
Williamson said extending the sewer line down that stretch of Route 3 and upgrading the pump station would allow more businesses to open along that part of Route 3 because they would have sewer access. Now any business along that portion of Route 3 would have to have septic systems.
“We want to do this now so future expansion can hook in so we don’t have to do this again,” Williamson said.
Fred Raynor could not be reached for comment.
Ryan Churchill, the engineer on the project by GYMO Architects, Engineers and Land Surveying in Watertown, said Williamson said Raynor already owns the property for the new site and no zoning changes are needed.
Williamson said Raynor most likely will sell or lease his old dealership building to another business.
He also said the hope is to have the Raynor project approved so construction can begin this year.
Operators returned Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station Unit 2 to full power today after successfully completing the station’s spring refueling outage that began in late March.
During the planned outage, roughly 2,200 employees and highly-skilled supplemental workers performed thousands of inspections, maintenance activities, tests and technology upgrades while replacing one-third of the reactor’s fuel. Many of the activities performed during the outage cannot be accomplished while the plant is generating electricity and all are designed to ensure continued safe and reliable operations.
“We work hard all year to plan and execute safe and effective refueling outages and this year was no exception,” said Chris Costanzo, site vice president. “I’m proud of our team for executing another safe outage and I’m thankful to the many local residents who supported us during this busy time.”
Unit 1 continued to operate during the Unit 2 outage. Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station is located in Scriba.
About 1,300 British troops stormed into Oswego May 5, 1814 – 200 years ago this Monday. They were met by a mere 300 Americans.
The British had 222 cannons and other weapons. The Americans had a lowly five cannon and their muskets.
The Battle of Oswego, May 5-6, one of the later battles in the War of 1812, did not go well for the young Americans again fighting the British just 38 years after the start of the Revolutionary War.
But they fought hard, fought valiantly. They did all they could to keep the British out of Oswego. Men died right at the flagpole inside Fort Ontario trying to keep the British away from the American flag.
Paul Lear, manager of the Fort Ontario State Historic Site and an expert on the battle, said while the Americans lost the battle, they did keep the British from attaining their goal.
“The British wanted two things,” Lear said. “They wanted to disrupt the flow of military parts and equipment to Sackets Harbor where the USS Superior and Mohawk were under construction. If they seized cannons, ropes, riggings and ammunition coming through the pipeline they could slow the ship construction and maintain their advantage on Lake Ontario.”
“They also needed food,” Lear said. “They were desperate for food.”
Earlier in the spring, some of the British military hierarchy thought perhaps the best target for an attack would be Sackets Harbor, the large U.S. military bastion on Lake Ontario (it was the U.S. Naval headquarters during the War of 1812) where much of the American shipbuilding was taking place.
But, after thinking about two earlier attacks of Sackets there that did not go well for the British, Commodore James Yeo and Maj. Gen. Gordon Drummond decided to bypass Sackets for Oswego – “an objective of lesser proportions,” said Lear, quoting Yeo and Drummond’s superior, Gen. George Prevost.
So the plan was to attack Oswego.
Lear said Oswego was important during the War of 1812 because shipments of food stuffs, military equipment and ship parts came through Oswego before heading to Sackets Harbor.
Shipments would come from New York City up the Hudson to Albany, over land to Schenectady, onto boats at the Mohawk River to Rome and then Wood Creek. The shipment then would move across Oneida Lake and down the river to Oswego Falls (now Fulton).
Then the material would be moved around the falls and rapids and then back onto the river to Oswego, where it would move onto Lake Ontario for the short trip north to Sackets.
Lear said the British knew attacking Oswego would allow them to cut off these shipments without being hit by a huge military presence like that at Sackets Harbor.
The village of Oswego at the time was the home to about 200 people, most involved in the forwarding or shipping trade, Lear said. “The best salt at the time came from Salina (outside Syracuse),” Lear said, noting Oswego was a prime spot for receiving salt before it was shipped elsewhere.
The village was split in two by the Oswego River – just like today’s city. But there was no Utica Street or Bridge Street bridges – to get from one side of the village to the other, people had to take a ferry.
There were only a couple hundred military men at Oswego at the time and the British knew this. Fort Ontario also was a mess, having fallen into near complete disrepair after being discarded in 1796.
Lear said U.S. Lt. Col. George Mitchell of the 3rd U.S. Artillery, who was in the Niagara Territory, was told to march with 300 men to Oswego to protect supplies and naval shipment being brought through the village. From April 23 through April 30, Mitchell and his men march from Batavia to Oswego.
Upon arrival, Mitchell finds the dilapidated Fort Ontario and five cannons. “He had almost nothing to work with,” Lear said.
On May 5, guards at Fort Ontario see a fleet of ships out in Oswego Harbor.
“The alarm guns go off. Mitchell sounds an alert for the militia to turn out,” Lear said. About 200 or so from surrounding areas such as Hannibal, Sterling and Scriba show up.
The British are getting ready to come ashore when they are hit with something all Oswegonians then and now are used to – a storm.
Lear said the storm actually was a blessing for Mitchell and the Americans. While the British waited in their ships for better weather, the Americans had time to hide much of the equipment, ship parts and food they knew the British wanted in the woods around the village.
Mitchell also set up a large grouping of tents on the west side of the village to give the illusion of more American troops being on hand than there really were.
But Mitchell knew that once the storm passed, the attack would begin in earnest. He was right. Yeo and Drummond loaded men onto smaller boats heading to the shore near where the Fort Ontario post cemetery is today.
Since the water is shallow, the boats had to stop off shore and the British soldiers and sailors had to jump in the water to head to shore. Lear said they tried to keep their weapons dry, but every once in a while they would step into a deeper pocket while walking to shore and go in over their heads.
“The lakeshore became a mass of sodden, red-coated Royal Marines and De Wattevilles (Swiss soldiers) and green-jacketed Glengarries (Canadian Scots) struggling ashore, streaming with water, shaking themselves, and checking their cartridge boxes to determine how much of their ammunition was ruined,” writes Robert Malcomson in his book “Lords of the Lake.”
“Mitchell brought 80 soldiers and 20 sailors down to engage the British line where he got off six or seven crisp volleys,” Lear said. “The other 100 men left the ditch and marched out to join Mitchell’s line when he was about halfway back up the slope, so he wouldn’t get flanked on the right or south side.”
Then the British begin firing back – at least those with guns that still worked.
As the British moved up the hill and closer to the fort, some Americans retreated to the woods.
Others keep fighting. British are coming from different directions and eventually Mitchell realizes the Americans are being overrun. He orders a retreat.
Lear said while the Americans were told to “defend the supplies and water route and not the fort and village,” the soldiers didn’t want the fort and flag to fall. A few Americans “nailed the flag to the pole and stayed by their guns,” Lear said.
“Royal Marine Lt. John Hewett and a burly sergeant were in the van of the raisers as they fought their way toward the lofty flag pole in the center of the fort,” Malcomson writes in “Lords of the Lake.” “Hewett leapt up to the foot rests and scaled the pole, drawing the fire of insulted Americans who succeeded in hitting him several times.”
“Unfazed, Hewett tore the massive Stars and Stripes flag from the nails that held it aloft and it fluttered to the ground to the cheers and huzzahs of his comrades,” Malcomson writes in his book.
Lear said one American, who already had been shot and was on the ground inside the fort, tried to stop Hewett only to be run through with a bayonet.
In all, the Battle of Oswego lasted a mere 16 minutes, Lear said. The Americans retreated, many to Oswego Falls, which is now Fulton. They took many wounded with them.
Lear said the most perplexing thing about the battle is trying to come up with an exact number of casualties. It seems everyone has different numbers. Lear said his research has found the Americans suffered 18 dead by May 30, many dying weeks after the battle from “horrible wounds.”
The British had 90 killed or wounded. They also captured some ship goods, equipment and food, but not the amount they thought they would find.
According to Malcomson’s book, Mitchell and Master Commandant Melancthon Taylor Woolsey thought the British would continue their surge down the Oswego River to Oswego Falls (Fulton) and then to Three Rivers where more goods were stored.
But the British got back on their ships after the Battle of Oswego and headed back to Kingston.
While the British had the upper hand in Oswego, they would meet their match at the end of May in Sandy Creek.
Woolsey’s troops, with help from militia and Oneida Indians, would ambush them there on May 30 in the Battle of Big Sandy Creek, keeping them from capturing any more goods on the way to Sacket’s Harbor.
The Palermo United Methodist Church will host its chicken and biscuit dinner from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1 in the church dining room.
This is a family-style, all-you-can-eat dinner including chicken and gravy, biscuits, mashed potatoes, salad, vegetable, dessert and beverage.
Takeouts are available and can be reserved by calling 598-4888
The church is located on County Route 35 just off of State Route 3 in Palermo, just north of Palermo Center.
The Amboy 4-H Environmental Education Center will present a public program about the American woodcock at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 1, (rain date May 2).
American woodcock advertise courtship intentions by strutting about and emitting a series of nasal peents. With a final “peent,” the male launches into an enthralling flight display to attract hens.
Following a short presentation of woodcock natural history with Pat Carney, facility’s naturalist, attendees will venture to a singing ground to observe and listen to the serenade of this twilight troubadour.
Other spring heralds also will regale us with evening ballads. Program participants should dress for an evening spring walk by wearing jackets, boots and shoes that can get wet and/or muddy.
Assemblyman Will Barclay will host an American Red Cross blood drive from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, May 2 at Believer’s Chapel in Fulton.
Anyone is welcome to donate. To schedule an appointment for the May 2 blood drive in Fulton, call the Red Cross at 343-0967 or sign up online, visit http://www.redcrossblood.org/donating-blood and click on “Schedule an Appointment.”
It takes about 8-10 minutes to give blood with a total time to register and replenish with provided snacks of about an hour and 15 minutes. Donors are encouraged to eat well and hydrate prior to appointment.
An immigrant farmworker who works on an Upstate dairy and an organizer for a local workers’ center will speak at noon Sunday, May 4 at First Universalist Society of Central Square as part of a statewide speaking tour aimed at improving the lives of immigrant farmworkers.
The talk and a brief slideshow will be given by Jose Canas, who is originally from El Salvador, and Rebecca Fuentes, of West Monroe, who is lead organizer for the Syracuse-based Workers’ Center of Central New York.
Canas works at a dairy in Northern New York. Fuentes is the daughter of a farmworker from Mexico.
The program also is part of the Voices for Worker Equality speaker and film series organized by the church, state Route 49 just west of U.S. Route 11, and the workers’ center.
The statewide campaign will include several other dairy farmworkers and is being organized by the workers’ center along with Worker Justice Center of New York, in Rochester.
It coincides with Worker Memorial Day on April 25, May Day on May 1 and Farmworker Advocacy Day on May 5.
The local talk is free, but donations will be accepted to support the workers’ center. Light refreshments will be served.
Girls and boys ages 12-15 are invited to the Montezuma Audubon Center for up to three weeks of Sportsman Education this summer.
Young hunters will get their hunter safety, bow safety and waterfowl identification certificates in three weeks of hands-on learning and outdoor experiences.
The camps will run from July 14 through 31 (Monday-Thursday for each course).
Each week will feature classroom-style learning, covering the basics of each course, enhanced by hands-on outdoor field lessons including orienteering, canoeing, tracking and more.
Participants will also take part in conservation projects that enhance habitats for game and non-game species.
Fee per camper: $100 for one week, $190 for two and $270 for all three. Major support for this program is provided by Bass Pro Shops.
Space is limited and registration is required. Registration forms can be found at http://ny.audubon.org/montezuma. For more information, call 365-3588 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Week 1 – Hunter Safety – July 14-17
Week 2 – Bow Safety – July 21-24
Week 3 – Waterfowl ID – July 28-July 31
For more information about the Sportsman Camp or the Montezuma Audubon Center, visit http://ny.audubon.org/montezuma.
The First Congregational Church of New Haven is holding an eat-in or take-out dinner from noon until gone Saturday, May 3.
Preorders are available to be picked up between noon and 2 p.m.
The dinner will contain ½ chicken, pulled pork, pasta salad, salt potatoes, roll and butter. Call 963-3118 and leave a message with your name, phone number and the number of dinners you want. You will receive a call back to confirm your order and to make arrangements for you to buy the tickets needed for your dinner(s).
The church is located at 4250 State Route 104 in New Haven. The church is just west of County Route 6.
The youth group at St. Stephen’s Catholic Church in Phoenix is having a garage sale May 17.
The youth group is asking if people would donate bottles and cans for the sale. The youths are raising money for a trip to Steubenville, Ohio for a youth rally with about 40,000 other teens. The event, at the Franciscan Univerity of Steubenville, is focused on connecting teens to the sacraments. There is live music by Bob Rice, speakers and Masses.
There is going to be a drop off area on the day of the garage sale in the parking lot behind St. Stephen’s Church. There is also a drop off spot right next to the church if people would like to drop off before or after the garage sale.
Those dropping off should tell the bottle and can business they are dropping off for Team Awesomess of St. Stephen’s church.
The Oswego County Health Department will hold a rabies clinic for cats, dogs and pet ferrets from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 7, at the Oswego County Highway Garage, 957 Centerville Road, Pulaski.
State law requires that all cats, dogs and pet ferrets be vaccinated against rabies. The first rabies vaccine should be given at three months of age.
A second vaccination is required for cats and dogs within one year of the first, and every three years thereafter. Ferrets need to be vaccinated annually.
In order for pets to receive the 3-year booster shot, owners need to show that the pet was previously vaccinated and should bring their pet’s last rabies vaccination certificate to the clinic.
Christine Hawksby, Doug Wallace and Dean Distin will be inducted into the Fulton Bowling Hall of Fame during a ceremony Sunday at RFH’s Hideaway outside Phoenix.
Hawksby began bowling at 13 when she joined the Junior League of the Sealright Recreation Club. She said when she first started bowling, the Sealright Recreation Club had pin setters at that time.
After competing in many Junior League tournaments, Hawksby went on to bowl throughout high school and finished in second place of the Senior Division. She bowled in numerous women’s leagues including the Whirley Bird, Tip Top, Friendly Girls, Lucky Seven, the Monday Night Women’s Classic and the Friday Night Mixed League at the Sealright Recreation Club.
For many years, Hawksby served as president of the Whirley Bird League. She has had the good fortune of bowling with many friends in local, state and national bowling tournaments. Hawksby was also an annual participant in the Elks Club New York State Tournament.
Since 1977, Hawksby has been a member of the Lock “600” Club. She took part in the Fulton Association Tournament in 1978. With a score of 1872, Hawksby earned a first place finish in the All Events category.
She bowled a 674 series with scores of 214, 226 and 234 while bowling in the Friendly Girls League in 1978. At the time, her series was the highest in Oswego County. Her highest single game was a 269 which occurred while bowling in the Tip Top League.
Hawksby won first place in the Fulton Women’s Bowling Association Tournament with a score of 1216 alongside Dot Morrison in 1982. With a 171 average, she earned the High Average Award in the Lucky Seven League during the 1983-84 season.
During the 1999-2000 season, Hawksby’s team won the Lucky Seven League. Over the years, she also has earned All Spare Game, Triple Score of 190, 200 and 250 game patches and for two consecutive years, her teams won the Budweiser No Tap Tournament.
For more than 25 years, Hawksby worked at Birdseye Food, Inc. before its closing in December 2012. Unfortunately, a knee injury and other health problems left her unable to bowl for the first time in many years. Hawksby keeps busy through involvement with the Fulton Elks Club, VFW Post 569, Fulton Moose Club #1280 and the Polish Home. Hawksby said her involvement with these organizations is something she wouldn’t trade for anything.
Doug Wallace began bowling when he was 17 years old. Bowling found its way into his life when he saw a few of his friends taking part in the sport.
He said he tried bowling and it clicked. Before he knew it, he was bowling in a league. Wallace went on to bowl in at least one league every year since then.
Wallace’s most notable earlier achievement came in 1982 when he bowled his first 300 game. During the game prior to his first 300 game, Wallace set the foundation for perfection by bowling 8 straight strikes to end the game.
Early on, he also shot an 806 series at a recreation club in Syracuse. Wallace said bowling well in that kind of environment is not easy to do. He considers that achievement to be one of his biggest.
In recent years, Wallace won the Western Central Bowling Association Tournament. He was also recognized for his success competing in Doubles Play.
It means a lot to Wallace to be inducted into the Fulton Bowling Hall of Fame. He is familiar with and has a lot of respect for many Hall of Fame members including fellow inductee, Dean Distin. At the end of the day, it’s an honor for Wallace to be associated with other impressive bowlers and their numerous accomplishments within the sport.
Distin began bowling in 1978 when he joined the Junior Bowling Program at Lakeview Lanes. Distin found himself interested in the sport when he would see his father, Milton Distin, bowl in both of Fulton’s classic leagues.
Some of Distin’s early accomplishments in bowling include being a captain of the high school varsity team for two of his three years of participation. During his senior year, Distin had the highest average in the league en route to winning the Onondaga High School League. He has bowled 52 300 games with 31 800 series and has won many city tournament titles.
His experience in bowling has also included holding many league related positions. Distin served as president of the W.F. Case League and also served as director and vice president of the Fulton Bowling Association.
More recently, Distin won the 1988 and 1989 Oswego County Masters Championship. In 1991, he won the New York State Singles Championship.
Distin has been on several successful teams as well. In 1994, he earned recognition in the National Doubles and earned Team All Events acknowledgements at The ABC Open Championship. Distin won the 1995 Van-Wie Doubles Championship. After being the runner up in the Syracuse Masters Championship in 1993, he went on to win the tournament in 2000.
Distin has been married to his wife Kathy for 24 years and they have three children — sons Thomas, 17, Andrew, 15 and daughter Katie, 12. For 20 years, Distin has been the owner of Jafco Construction.
Distin said being inducted into the Hall of Fame is an honor that allows him to come full circle. Not only are many of Distin’s friends and teammates members of the Hall of Fame, but his father is as well. Soon, he will be able to share this most impressive of achievements with the person who inspired him to bowl.
The Cabin 3 Youth group of Gods Vision Christian Church in Hannibal and the Vintage Truth college age ministry held a 30-hour famine on Good Friday, April 18 in Hannibal to raise money and awareness for Agape International and World Vision Child sponsorship.
Many youth and adults stopped eating at 6 p.m. Thursday April 17 and did not eat again for 30 hours.
During this time the youth built cardboard houses to sleep in overnight. The youth also held a car wash and obtained sponsors to raise money for the charities.
Mission worker Jill Chatham from the Rochester area came to speak to the youth and share information about worldwide child slavery and trafficking.
Every country has some sort of child trafficking and every area of the United States also has child slavery and trafficking issues.
Chatham taught the youth about the reasons why youth get involved in slavery, why they get sold into slavery in poor countries and how American teens get lured into a lifestyle that is actually leading them and trapping them into slavery and trafficking.
Many countries have youth as young as six years old working 21 hours a day, peeling shrimp, sewing soccer balls and working as prostitutes.
Chatham also pointed out the many products that we as Americans use on a daily basis that most likely was grown by, prepared by or assembled by children, many slaves, many not able to return to their families.
Statistically one child is sold into slavery every 30 seconds and 35 percent are less than age 16. Officials estimate there are more than 27,000 slaves worldwide, half under the age of 18.
Agape International says they are ”fighting the ground war on sex trafficking in Cambodia. Our projects prevent, rescue, restore and reintegrate, impacting 10,000+ people a year.”
But Agape said this takes money and that’s where groups like Cabin 3 come in. Every dollar given helps to change a life, restore a life.
This is the 10th year Cabin 3 has done a 30-hour famine, raising money for their sponsored child, “Ruth,” a little girl in Peru, as well as raising money for World Vision.
This is the third year Cabin 3 and Vintage Truth College group have raised money for Agape International.
The youth traveled to Buffalo, Tuesday April 29 to deliver the money they raised to Vintage at the Chapel at Cross point in Buffalo.
Anyone who would like to donate to either fund, or if you would like more information, call Erik at 564-6133 or go to www.cabin3ministries.org.
All area teens ages 10-18 are welcome to attend all Cabin 3 events and all older teens, college age and adults are welcome to come to Vintage Truth every Tuesday at 8 p.m. at God’s Vision Christian Church at 326 Church St., Hannibal.
With a dedication to community service and a focus on helping others, 19 Phoenix youth earned recognition during a ceremony at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5540 on Thursday night April 24.
Local dignitaries, school administrators and community representatives were on hand to commend the students for their dedication and volunteer service as part of the 18th annual President’s Youth Volunteer Service Award dinner.
“It’s an honor to be in the room with you,” said Brian Chetney, executive director of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau. “This is a recognition program that honors tens of millions Americans who have made a commitment to sustained service … and you have all done your part.”
“Sustained” was the key word, as the honorees have devoted much of their free time to serving others. The juniors and seniors who received the silver distinction accumulated at least 300 volunteer hours, while the gold recipients tallied at least 500 hours.
For John C. Birdlebough High School students Meganne Murphy and Dylan Switzer, who each earned the Youth of the Year Award, volunteer service has been a way of life.
“I started in first grade as a Boy Scout,” said Switzer, who earned his Eagle Scout badge in October. “I remember helping out at the shows for winter guard because my sister was in it. Volunteering is something I enjoy.”
Murphy began her community service contributions almost a decade ago.
“I’ve been volunteering since fifth grade, I started out as a Bridge House Brat,” she said. “It makes me feel good that I can make a difference.”
Although that positive feeling is enough to satisfy Murphy and Switzer, the additional recognition Thursday night was equally satisfying and humbling, they said.
“I was really surprised because I didn’t expect to get anything from being so involved,” Murphy said. “It means a lot to me to know that I’ve made a difference in the community.”
Switzer echoed those sentiments.
“It’s a big honor,” he said. “Honestly, I don’t know how the selection committee made the decision. There are other people who were just as deserving as me.”
Birdlebough Principal Greg Molloy spoke about the Youth of the Year recipients and the qualities that contributed to them receiving the distinction.
Prior to presenting them with plaques, he lauded their volunteer spirit and commended them for their commitment to the community.
In addition to the Youth of the Year Award presentation, Superintendent Judy Belfield and Phoenix Board of Education President Earl Rudy congratulated the Gold and Silver Award recipients and presented them with commemorative pins and certificates.
“Your efforts will make you a well-rounded and a better person,” Rudy told the students.
Gold Award winners were James Benthin, Ben Bulgrien, Finella Campanino, Trever Ferens, Eric Hillpot, Maria Musumeci, Matthew Pelton, Paige Recore, Brian Stafford, Shaun Turner, Ryan Thorn and Olivia Uttamsingh. Silver Award recipients were Hailee Claycomb, Gianna Garofalo, Bailey Goldthwait, Hannah Lees and Jessica Lord.